Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monthly Archives: June 2012

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Last week I kicked off a little series here at VT where we look forward to the 2012 Season and make some bold predictions. We started off by looking at the first quarter of the Vikings 2012 schedule and guessing (an educated guess, of course) what the outcome of those games might be. Now we will look forward to the second fourth of our schedule to determine where the Vikings may be at the halfway mark of the 2012 season.

But first, a little recap of my predictions for the first four games:

Week 1: Jacksonville (W, 1-0)
Week 2: @ Indianapolis (W, 2-0)
Week 3: San Francisco (L, 2-1)
Week 4: @ Detroit (L, 2-2)

Here are some interesting tidbits for how the depth chart looked during Tuesday’s OTA practices:

SAFETY:  It didn’t take long for first round pick Harrison Smith to “work his way up” the depth chart and received mostly first team reps on Tuesday.  Across from him, Mistral Raymond and Jamarca Sanford rotated first team reps.

“I saw a play (Tuesday) where he really got angry,” Leslie Frazier said of Smith. “He got pretty fired up, and you kind of need that out of your defensive backs. You need them to have a little something about them, and it was good to see.”

CORNERBACK:  Smith and Matt Kalil aren’t the only rookies to be getting first team reps at this point.  Third round cornerback Josh Robinson received some reps as the starting right corner.  It isn’t clear why, but Antoine Winfield missed Tuesday’s practice, and it is equally unclear if Winfield’s absence resulted in Robinson getting his chances with the first team.

LINEBACKER:  Jasper Brinkley suffered a minor groin injury last week and, while he is expected to be fine, has missed some time.  Chad Greenway has been in South Dakota dealing with his family matters and Solomon Elimimian has had to sit out with a hamstring injury.  That means that the starting group of linebackers has looked like this:  Erin Henderson, Larry Dean, and Tyrone McKenzie.

WIDE RECEIVER:  With the absence of Percy Harvin, Stephen Burton has been filling in as the go-to flanker with the first team.  Burton has generated a lot of offseason buzz, along with Jerome Simpson, and these reps with Christian Ponder could give him the inside track to a roster spot.

OFFENSIVE LINE:  Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt.  These guys are assumed to be occupying four of the starting spots along the offensive line from day one, which means there should be one hell of a competition for the starting gig at right guard.  Right now, Brandon Fusco is acting as the starting right guard with Geoff Schwartz getting reps with the second team.

KICKER:  Blair Walsh has been handed the kickers position on a silver gold platinum platter.  On Tuesday, during 11-on-11 drills, Walsh made four of six field goal attempts.  He missed from 42 and 44 yards.

The Minnesota Vikings have had good, spirited attendance at OTA’s so far this year by all accounts.  A few veterans have stayed away, including Percy Harvin after his shoulder presumably started to act up after attending the very beginning of OTA’s.  Jared Allen has also been away, which is not really a surprise given that is pretty much the norm for number 69.

One player that has been somewhat of a mystery has been Chad Greenway whose absence has been attributed to the vague reason of “family situation” up until this point.

According to reports, however, Greenway is indeed dealing with an unenviable and difficult situation.  His father, whom we can all remember for his words after Greenway was drafted, has been battling leukemia and is currently getting hospice care.

“I talked with him a few days ago and I don’t know if we’ll have him back for mandatory minicamp,” Leslie Frazier said. “His family situation is something he’s dealing with so we may or may not have him back for that but it’s understandable, what he’s experiencing.”

According to the reports, a number of South Dakota farmers have banded together to help Alan Greenway out by bailing his hay this season.

We here at VT would like to pass along our best wishes to Alan, Chad, and the whole Greenway family. This is surely the most trying of times for the Greenway family, and I know many of you would be eager to help out, but I have been unable to find any sort of fund being organized for Mr. Greenway.  If I find one I will be sure to pass that along.

In the meantime, Pennies for Patients has always been a standup organization to support in the battle against leukemia.

[UPDATE: It should be noted that the sixth annual Greenway’s Gridiron Gallup will be held this Sunday, Father’s Day, in Minneapolis.  The 5k run helps to raise funds for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board youth athletic programming.  For more details, you can click here.]

A few days back, we passed along the information that linebacker Brian Banks is somebody of interest to the Vikings (and everybody else that follows football) this offseason.

After being exonerated of rape charges that took a decade of his young life, Banks has become quite the celebrity and many are hopeful he will become the feel-good storyline of this season, regardless of where he lands.

According to Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times, Banks will attend a minicamp with the Seattle Seahawks this week.  If he leaves Seattle without a contract, then he is scheduled to visit the Vikings at the end of this week.

The Vikings could be the perfect match for Banks should they choose to offer him a contract.  They are a young team looking to improve but, at the same time, expecting some growing pains.  Plus, they could use some depth at linebacker.

Banks could have the inspired type of play, the will to succeed, that coaches will love in training camp despite the certain obstacles he will have to hurdle in order to succeed in the NFL after such a long time away from the game.

We’ll be sure to keep an eye on this storyline and let you know of any progress as far as the Vikings are concerned.

Over a month ago, word emerged that free agent wide receiver received a three game suspension for his drug trafficking arrest during his days with the Bengals.  Shortly after the suspension hit the media, Simpson signed a one year deal with the Vikings.

Today, the NFL made the suspension official, which likely means that the appeal process has run its course.

The NFL indeed has suspended Simpson for three games, and will also deduct one more game check from him.

If I were a betting man, I would guess that the suspension was originally for four games but the league took pity on him, knowing that Simpson was a free agent and a four game suspension would make him much less attractive to teams with a week four bye.  Hence, the additional game check being deducted.

Simpson will miss games against the Jaguars, Colts, and Niners before returning to the team on September 24th.  His Minnesota debut will likely come with plenty of anticipation, as Simpson has generated as much hype as any Vikings player during OTA’s.

The big question with Simpson is whether or not he actually does “get it” and will be able to avoid trouble throughout the rest of his career.  The following quote leaves me doubting him a bit.

“It is because I won’t be out there with my guys playing the game I love,” Simpson said of his frustrations with being suspended, “but it’s the technicality of my situation.”

In what world (besides Amsterdam) is getting nabbed for receiving two and a half pounds of pot in the mail considered a “technicality?”

For the drug charges Simpson had to spend 15 days in jail, received a $7,500 fine, and was assigned 200 hours of community service.  The suspension without pay is expected to cost him $188,235 in game checks, and up to another $178,125 in incentives.

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